Granite Falls man accused of waterboarding and sexually assaulting captive girlfriend in dorm

September 19, 2023

Warning: This post contains descriptions of domestic violence and sexual assault. Reader discretion is advised.

If you are suffering from domestic violence, please see the following links:

Domestic violence information | National Domestic Violence Hotline (US) | Domestic violence and abuse (NHS / UK) | List of hotlines (Worldwide) |   

A nineteen-year-old Granite Falls man has been arrested this week on charges of three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, threats of violence, and domestic assault by strangulation.

Keanu Labatte reportedly became enraged after discovering messages and images on his girlfriend’s phone and social media accounts after he showed up at her dorm room at the all-female St. Catherine University Campus in St. Paul Minnesota. There, he allegedly tortured her and held her against her will.

Granite Falls to St. Paul, Minnesota is a journey of over 130 miles one way.

Labatte had been dating the victim, who at the time of writing remains unnamed in the media, for just two months before he reportedly repeatedly raped, water boarded and physically assaulted her on Thursday, September 7, 2023.

The alleged attack reportedly unfolded over a three-day period and began when the victim resisted Labatte’s sexual advances. She told Labatte that she did not want to have sex with him, however, he would not take “no” for an answer.

Labatte allegedly forced himself onto the victim multiple times against her will, threatening her with a knife, beating her, raping her, and strangling her in the process. According to media outlets, he also threatened to murder her and her family.

The suspect had a history of domestic abuse. At the time of the three-day long attack, Labatte was on probation in Yellow Medicine County, on the west side of Minnesota, as he was in violation of a restraining order that had been filed by his previous girlfriend and her family. A criminal complaint states that the St. Catherine University victim said Labatte told her he had also threatened his previous girlfriend at knifepoint. He brought up what he had done to his ex-girlfriend to intimidate the victim, who said she was so frozen with fear that she felt she could not physically move, and just lay next to her attacker, too scared to do anything for fear of the repercussions.

 She added that he attempted to locate a vein that would cause her to bleed to death if he cut it.

Labatte confiscated the victim’s cell phone, rendering her unable to call for help, and kept her in the dorm room against her will.  

She said Labatte dragged the mattress from the bed to the floor because he felt the frame was squeaking too loudly while he sexually assaulted her.

The victim described how she was forced to lay down in the bathtub before Labatte covered her face with a towel and poured a bucket of water over it, waterboarding her. He also verbally and physically assaulted her, choking her until she was on the verge of passing out, calling her a “slut”, and punching her in the stomach, throat, and face.

On the morning of Sunday, September 9, the victim told police that she persuaded Labatte to let her go to the dining hall to get food. Somehow, Labatte agreed on the condition that she take her cell phone so he could monitor her via Snapchat. He told her that he wanted her to take a picture once she arrived at the dining hall as proof of where she was.

After escaping the dorm room, the victim went straight to campus security to report the ordeal, and officers noted that she had visible bruising around her face, head, and neck. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital to treat her injuries.

Police were quickly contacted and reported to the campus.

According to the complaint, Labatte had called the victim multiple times and messaged her to ask why the police were outside the door- all of which the victim ignored.

When they opened the door to the dorm room, they found Labatte holding a green backpack with a black and orange folding knife inside, as well as evidence to corroborate the victim’s story. A damp red towel, believed to be used to waterboard the victim, was found in the bathroom, and the mattress from the bed was on the floor as she had described.

Labatte said only one thing: “I plead the Fifth.”

Labatte was promptly arrested, read his Miranda rights and taken into custody. He refused to speak to officers. He was charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, threats of violence, and domestic assault by strangulation, with bail set at $100,000.

Labatte is scheduled to appear in court on October 9, 2023.

Sources: [X][X][X][X]

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